2016 Michigan Botanical Club Foray

September 2-5, 2016

Hosted by the Southwestern Chapter at Holiday Inn Kalamazoo West, 2747 South 11th St Kalamazoo, MI 49009


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Special Native Plant Communities of Southwest Michigan

The Southwestern Chapter is very pleased to host the MBC 2016 Foray and looks forward to your exploring the special native plant communities found in the Kalamazoo area.

Southwestern Michigan is blessed with a wide array of natural communities populated with a remarkable diversity of plant species. Botanists report that the coastal plain marshes found in Allegan, Van Buren and Kalamazoo counties are home to some of the largest concentrations of rare plant occurrences in the state. The area’s prairies are remnants of an eastern extension of a “prairie peninsula.” Because late summer is the best time to see these and other southwest Michigan plant communities in bloom, the Annual Foray this year will take place over the Labor Day weekend.

Allegan State Game Area - © 2016 photo by Jesse Lincon

Allegan State Game Area - © 2016 photo by Jesse Lincon

For hundreds of thousands of years on and off, powerful continental glaciers transformed the topography of northern North America. The area that is now southwestern Michigan was shaped by both the Lake Michigan and Saginaw lobes of the Wisconsin glacial period. As this last ice sheet receded from our area about 15 thousand years ago, it left behind a land of moraines, lakeplains and various forms of outwash deposits, as well as areas carved by meltwater channels. After the last of the ice retreated, plants and animals over time began to repopulate the desolate land, finding niches in which to live and reproduce. The rolling hills, meandering streams, and abundant wetlands and lakes created by the glacier met their varied needs and allowed richly diverse natural communities to develop.

Fast forward to the late 17th century -- European explorers in this area encountered some of these diverse natural communities, but perhaps not with a botanist’s enthusiasm. In the spring of 1680, LaSalle’s ship was supposed to meet him at a fort on the shore of Lake Michigan near the mouth of the St. Joseph River. When the ship failed to arrive, the French explorer and his party began a difficult trek toward Lake Erie through “the unknown wild of southern Michigan.” They bushwhacked their way east, struggling through dense woods “interlaced with thorns and brambles,” hunting in open woodlands, camping at “the edge of a prairie” and wading through flooded, waist–deep wetlands. [Frances Parkman (1865). France & England in North America. (Library of America edition,1983.)] The Foray field trips will sample these plant communities, but with less bushwhacking and fewer thorns and brambles. And, although we do not plan to wade up to our waists through wetlands, be sure to bring your boots.
Several field trips will highlight significant collecting sites used by the remarkable amateur botanists, Clarence and Florence Hanes, who published their classic, Flora of Kalamazoo County, Michigan, in 1947. The sites include West Lake, Lyons Lake and Pretty Lake.

Other field trips will feature coastal plain marshes in Van Buren and Allegan counties, as well as a variety of other wetlands – bogs, prairie fen, and hardwood-conifer swamp. And still others will give us the opportunity to explore upland communities, including savanna, prairies, oak-pine barrens and dry-mesic southern forest. Adding to the variety of field trips will be: a tree identification walk on the lovely, gently rolling Western Michigan University campus; a leisurely walk through the beautiful Kellogg Forest in search of fungi; and a visit to a privately-owned woodland that is the only currently known location in the State for Climbing Fern.

The Foray will open Friday evening with a welcome and orientation, followed by our speaker, Tony Reznicek, who will discuss Coastal Plain plants found in the Great Lakes region. One of the most remarkable occurrences in the Michigan and Great Lakes region flora is the occurrence of a number of species whose primary range is centered on the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plain. Unexpectedly, here they are usually not long-lived plants of stable habitat, but rather often annuals and short-lived perennials of transient habitats. Tony will describe the remarkable dynamics of these habitats and the strategies for long term survival, as well as the conservation challenges.

On Saturday evening, speaker Garrett Crow will provide an overview of bogs, focusing on Pennfield Bog, a major southern Michigan bog. Garrett will describe the various vegetation zones and examine the phytogeographical patterns of bog plants in light of the impact of Pleistocene glaciation and where these plants might have survived the Ice Age and ultimately migrated to our southern Michigan bogs.

And on Sunday evening, Todd Barkman will talk with us about orchids, exploring the many traits that distinguish orchids from other plant families as well as each other. His discussion will incorporate aspects of phylogeny as part of the attempt to understand the nature of diversity associated with orchid species that are found in our backyards as well as those that are incredibly rare and known only from some of the most remote places on earth.

The Southwestern Chapter wishes to thank all the people who have generously agreed to lead field trips and present evening programs at the 2016 Foray. We very much appreciate their willingness to share their time and their favorite places with us over the Labor Day holiday weekend. We are very grateful for the overwhelmingly positive responses we have received from so many people to our requests for help. We also very much appreciate the generous funding received from the Hanes Trust, Forensic Fluid Laboratories of Kalamazoo, and the Michigan Botanical Foundation.

General Information
The Chapter has arranged for lodging, meals and meetings at the Holiday Inn Kalamazoo West, located at the US-131 & Stadium Drive interchange, Exit 36 from US-131. Check-in time at the Holiday Inn begins Friday afternoon at 3:00 pm. The Foray registration table will be in front of the hotel’s ballroom to the left of the hotel’s lobby. On Friday, the Foray registration table will be open from 4:00 pm to 7:30 pm. Your name tag and field trip assignments will be given to you when you check-in.


Lodging and Meals

Holiday Inn Kalamazoo West is a full service hotel with free high speed internet, a health & fitness center, a heated indoor pool & hot tub (Holidome), and a restaurant and bar on-site. All guest rooms are smoke-free.

You must make your own room reservations by calling the Holiday Inn Kalamazoo West at 269-375-6000 and advising the reservation desk that you are participating in the Michigan Botanical Club event that is taking place at the hotel from September 2 to September 5, 2016.

There is a special group rate of $99 (plus taxes) per room (single or double occupancy) per night for reservations made by August 16, 2016. Reservation requests received after August 16, 2016 will be accepted on a space available basis, but the special group rate is not guaranteed after that date.

The meal package at the hotel for the entire weekend will include 3 breakfasts, 2 box lunches and 2 dinners. You will be on your own for dinner Friday. Snacks will be available at the Friday evening kick-off program. Single day registration with meals (box lunch and dinner) is available. See Registration Form. 

Hotel breakfasts and dinners will be served buffet style in the hotel ballroom with multiple options and vegetarian choices available. Box lunches with a variety of sandwich choices and a vegetarian option will be available for pick-up at breakfast. If you wish to have vegetarian box lunches, please so indicate on the Registration Form. Vegetarian box lunches will be available only for those persons who have requested them. If you have other dietary restrictions, please also indicate this on the Registration Form and we will work with the hotel chef to accommodate you. Please take your box lunches with you on all-day trips. Coolers will be provided or you may bring your own. Those of you on half-day trips will be returning to the hotel and may eat your box lunch in the hotel ballroom. 

MBC 2016 Foray Daily Schedule

Friday, September 2

3:00 pm Check-in begins at the Holiday Inn Kalamazoo West
4:00 – 7:30 pm  Registration adjacent to hotel ballroom left of lobby Dinner on your own
7:30 pm Welcome and orientation in Great Lakes Ballroom
8:00 pm Speaker, Dr. Tony Reznicek, “Disjunct Coastal Plain Plants in the Great Lakes Region"

Saturday, September 3

6:30 – 8:00 am Buffet Breakfast in Great Lakes Ballroom
7:15 am Pick up box lunches outside ballroom
8:00 am Departure for All-Day field trips. Meet 15 minutes prior to departure
8:30 am Departure for Morning field trips. Meet 15 minutes prior to departure
12:00 – 12:45 pm Departure for Afternoon field trips. Meet 15 minutes prior to departure
4:30 – 5:30 pm Great Lakes Chapter meeting in Boardroom
5:00 – 6:00 pm Michigan Botanical Club State Board meeting in Erie Room
6:00 pm Buffet Dinner served in Great Lakes Ballroom
7:30 pm  Announcements, recognition of Student Scholarship recipients
8:00 pm  Dr. Garrett Crow, “The Vegetation and Phytogeography of a Southern Michigan Bog”

Sunday, September 4

6:30 – 8:00 am Buffet Breakfast in Great Lakes Ballroom
7:15 am Pick up box lunches outside ballroom
8:00 am Departure for All-Day field trips. Meet 15 minutes prior to departure
8:30 am Departure for Morning field trips. Meet 15 minutes prior to departure
12:00 – 12:45 pm Departure for Afternoon field trips. Meet 15 minutes prior to departure
4:30 – 5:30 pm Great Lakes Chapter meeting in Boardroom
5:00 – 6:00 pm Michigan Botanical Foundation meeting in Erie Room
6:00 pm Buffet Dinner served in Great Lakes Ballroom
7:30 pm Announcements, Awards, Board Meeting Reports
8:00 pm Speaker, Dr. Todd Barkman, “Tropical and Temperate Orchid Species Diversity: More Similarities than Differences”


Foray Field Trips

Saturday, September 3
Pretty Lake Phillips Family Sanctuary ASGA #1 - Coastal Plain Marshes
Marc's Marsh Fen Paw Paw Prairie Fen ASGA #2- Selected Sites
Kellogg Forest - Mushrooms Sand Creek Preserve
Sunday, September 4
Portman Nature Preserve Meta Gastineau Preserve ASGA #3 - Coastal Plain Marshes
West Lake Bog WMU Tree ID ASGA #4 - Selected Sites
Rarities of Kalamazoo County ASGA #5 - Selected Sites
Monday, September 5
Hidden Savanna
Gourdneck State Game Area
Meta Gastineau Preserve

Suggested Readings & References for the Foray (in addition to the Voss & Reznicek Field Manual of Michigan Flora):

Michael Huft, editor of The Michigan Botanist has kindly provided digital version of the reading material linked below.